39th Session of the General Conference
Monday, 6th November
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The full-size replica of the winged bull of Nimrud statue was unveiled at UNESCO, Fontenoy entrance. This 3D reconstruction, designed by Nicola Salvioli and his staff, has been manufactured by the 'Incontro di Civiltà' Association with the support of the 'Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Italia e Mediterraneo'. It will be exhibited at UNESCO until 3 December 2017, when it will be given by Italy to the Iraqi Government.
A high-level panel entitled “Responding to Cultural Cleansing, Preventing Violent Extremism” focused on efforts to protect cultural heritage. H.E. N’diaye Ramatoulaye Diallo, Minister of Culture of Mali and H.E. Fryad Muhammad F. Hassan Rwandzi, Minister of Culture of Iraq attended the event, among others. This discussion focused on the wide-ranging social and cultural repercussions of attacks on culture – including the denial of cultural rights, the displacement of peoples and the erosion of cultural expressions. During the debate, the Minister of Culture of Mali stressed the importance of culture for healing communities recovering from conflict, highlighting the UNESCO’s successful efforts to rehabilitate the mausoleums of Timbuktu, Mali.
Recognizing the importance of protecting cultural heritage from attack in time of conflict, the Director-General, and Ms. Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”), signed a Letter of Intent, which took place in the margins of an international high-level panel on “Responding to Cultural Cleansing, Preventing Violent Extremism”. This Letter of Intent builds on further solidifying the existing relationship between UNESCO and ICC, with a view to establishing a comprehensive cooperation agreement in the near future.
The key findings of the UNESCO “World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development: Global Report 2017/2018” were presented alongside the Communication and Information Commission. Tunisian journalist and media expert, Ms. Chadia Khedir, moderated a panel of experts and Member State representatives, including the Swedish Minister for Culture and Democracy, Ms. Alice Bah Kuhnke and the Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service, Mr. Christian Leffler.
The discussion centred on the significance of trends within the report’s key focus areas of media freedom, pluralism, independence and the safety of journalists. UNESCO Director of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, Mr. Guy Berger, explained that the World Trends Report provides an essential analysis of trends over time that assist in understanding the prevailing opportunities and threats to freedom of expression and media development worldwide. The World Trends Report is supported by the Government of Sweden and its findings will be further disseminated through regional seminars supported by the Government of Norway.